When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chocolate Doughnuts (gluten-free, vegan)

I'd been thinking recently that there are many treats typically associated with childhood that my boys rarely, if ever, get the chance to enjoy.  Common family traditions like going out for ice cream on a hot summer day, or stopping by Tim Hortons for a doughnut after Saturday morning activities just don't happen when you have a child with multiple food sensitivities.  I'm not sorry that the boys are missing out on all of the sugar found in those kinds of foods, but I remember how excited I would get when I was a child and our family enjoyed treats like those on special occasions, and I wish sometimes to be able to provide that kind of memory for my boys as well.

Last week I decided that I was going to find a way to make doughnuts that both of my boys could eat.  I found a doughnut pan online and ordered it, and spent some time thinking about how I would make a healthier kind of dough to fill it with.  Today I got to work making a test batch of doughnuts in our kitchen (with my fingers crossed the whole time!) and I can't even tell you how excited all four of us are with the result!

Chocolate Doughnuts

2 cups blanched almond flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp arrowroot flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1/4 cup natural cashew butter

shredded unsweetened coconut and/or chopped walnuts for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Whisk together the almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a smaller bowl, and then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir well until a uniform dough forms.

Divide the dough into six equal parts.  Take one portion and roll it under the palm of your hand to form a log shape that is about seven inches long.  Carefully lift the log and place it into the well of a doughnut pan, joining the two ends together to form a circle.  (The log will probably break a little, but don't worry -- just smooth out the place where the ends meet and any cracks or breaks with your fingers until you have a nice looking doughnut shape in the pan.)  Repeat this process with the remaining portions of dough.

Place the filled doughnut pan in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the doughnuts cool for about 15 minutes before turning the pan over and gently releasing the doughnuts onto a wire cooling rack.  Let the doughnuts cool completely before glazing them.

To make the glaze, melt the chopped dark chocolate and cashew butter together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often.  Spoon the melted chocolate mixture over the top of each doughnut, and use the back of the spoon to encourage the glaze to drip over the edges of the doughnuts.  Sprinkle some shredded coconut or chopped nuts over top of the glaze and voila! --  doughnuts so delicious you'll wonder why you never made them yourself sooner!

These rich, chewy, flavourful doughnuts were surprisingly simple to make, and they were enjoyed eagerly (as soon as they were ready!) by all four of us here, who agreed that they were quite likely the best doughnuts we had ever eaten.  They would make a lovely Valentine treat to share with your sweeties next week.

This recipe is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays

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